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Barbacoa Brinjal Burgers with Feta and Radicchio

I am particularly proud of growing Japanese eggplants and basil in my garden, and am constantly looking for new ways to utilize both of these ingredients that I have in such abundance throughout the summer months. Eggplant is called Brinjal in India, and Barbacoa simply means barbecued, which is my family’s favorite way to eat burgers. Hence, the title for this unique and flavorful burger.

Ingredients 

2 pounds ground chuck
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium Japanese eggplants
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for grill rack
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
6 Kaiser rolls, split
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
12 thin Roma tomato slices
6 thin slices of small red onion
6 large radicchio leaves

Instructions 

Heat gas grill to medium high heat. In a large bowl, combine chuck, cilantro, onion, salt and pepper. Mix just until combined, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit Kaiser rolls. Cut each eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices lengthwise. Place in a single layer on a large platter. Blend olive oil, basil leaves, and garlic in food processor until well chopped. Spoon into small bowl and stir in salt and pepper. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with mixture. Brush vegetable oil on grill rack. Arrange eggplant on grill. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes until tender and grill marks appear, turning 2-3 times. Push to edge of grill to keep warm. Place patties on grill. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes per side for medium, or to desired doneness, turning once. Sprinkle patties evenly with Feta cheese during last 2 minutes of cooking time. Remove eggplant from grill to platter. Place Kaiser rolls, split side down on edge of grill during last 2 minutes of patty cooking time. Lightly toast. In a small bowl, stir together Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Set aside. To assemble burgers, place 2 slices of eggplant lengthwise on bottom of each roll. Top each with a patty, 2 tomato slices, an onion slice separated into rings, and a large radicchio leaf. Spread bottoms of roll tops equally with mayonnaise mixture. Add roll tops to burgers. Serve.